The past eighteen months haven’t been easy for anyone.
Inedo was very fortunate to have not only survived, but remain profitable while supporting customers, creating new features, and shipping new releases on the schedule. I’m very grateful for my team, and our user community that helped us accomplish that.
With the half-year behind us, I wanted to talk about our future direction as a company, and how this will impact our users and our products going forward.
TLDR; I can’t wait to re-focus on building great products that help users!
Why should this matter to our customers?
We are part of a very small minority of independent software vendors whose money comes the old-fashioned way: by creating products that our users love enough to purchase. You are our investors.
This core principle—that our customers are our investors—has allowed us to grow and flourish with products that are easy to use and solve real business problems. While other companies chase numbers dictated by outside, speculative investors, our growth, our features, our products, and our future are determined by you, and you are who we answer to.
And this is why I want to share updates about not only our products but our business as a whole.
Re-focusing on our core mission.
Like so many others in our space, we embarked on a multi-year effort to build an “outbound, top-down sales channel”. Basically, this meant we’d engage with executives/directors at prospective customers, then offer to help solve their Automation/DevOps problems using a combination of software products, training, and services from our partners.
Building this type of sales channel isn’t easy, but it seemed like the only direction for Inedo at the time. I truly believed that if we didn’t level up our top-down sales game like others in this space, we’d be left behind by now.
Turns out… I was waaaay wrong😅
In fact, many of those other companies didn’t do so well. Their products and support gravely suffered, and they ultimately went under after losing hundreds of millions in investment. It’s a complex market, and there were a lot of reasons why finding success in top-down sales was so difficult.
For Inedo, the pandemic played a big part. But I also kept “sabotaging” our sales efforts with things like free editions, open documentation, and transparent pricing. I wasn’t willing to put any of those behind “sales gatekeepers”, and that made top-down sales a lot harder.
In retrospect, I’m glad I “sabotaged” our top-down sales efforts. Our adoption and sales have continued to grow, thanks entirely to our users. You downloaded, evaluated, and eventually saw enough value in our products to “sell” them internally. You gave us great feedback on how to improve and helped us continue to grow and build more products and features.
I’m a software automation engineer at heart, and Inedo’s core mission – building great software that enables teams to learn/develop/optimize their own Automation/DevOps processes – was the exact opposite of “bringing in the consultants to build it for you through top-down sales.”
That just isn’t us, it’s not many of our customers, and it was hard to sell that as a solution. That’s ultimately why threw in the towel on top-down sales.
We’re “re-focusing” on users.
Instead of top-down, we’re now dedicating our marketing/sales efforts to “adoption & enablement”. This means working with the people who actually use our software (i.e. engineers, developers), not their boss’s boss. Basically:
- Learning from our users and similar companies about what new problems we can solve in the market with our software
- Education about our products/features, and how they solve certain problems, whether that’s working with Docker Containers, or doing CI/CD for NuGet packages
- Sharing success stories of our users and showing off what they’ve been able to accomplish with our products
- Helping users make a business case for expanding usage within their organization and solving more problems with our tools.
Actually, we’ve been doing that all long, and I’ve worked with many of you firsthand. I’m very proud of the tremendous success we’ve all found on this path, and look forward to dedicating more of my time to working together with all of you.
We’ll get back to Events & Conferences.
Like the rest of the world, we had to cancel InedoCon 2020 (and then InedoCon 2021), and we haven’t been to a conference since. I don’t know when, or what that will look like just yet, but we’ll definitely be back in person – especially with our re-focus on users. What do you think we should do?
Personally, I can’t wait to get back on the road, and I look forward to face-to-face meetings with many of you again.
Inedo’s Product Roadmap.
There’s a lot to talk about here, but I’ll save the details for my next incredibly long email! I don’t have the words yet, but I want to continue our product focus on self-service, and help decentralize the parts of automation/IT/DevOps that make sense.
This means helping simplify processes, tooling, and technologies, so that developers don’t need to know everything from Kubernetes to the inner workings of package managers just create business software.
From a major version standpoint:
- BuildMaster v7 and Otter v3 have already shipped, and are getting great feedback thus far; we’re already thinking about the next major versions (coming next year)
- ProGet v6 is in the works and will ship later this quarter with some new features
As always, I’m very open to your feedback and welcome ideas on what we should consider for the roadmap.
Other Software Updates.
We’ve also been busy working on software other than ProGet, BuildMaster, and Otter.
my.inedo.com – we’ve rebuilt/modernized our self-service billing/download/support/licensing portal with the latest Inedo libraries and .NET5. This will let us maintain a consistent experience across all products, and will let us develop new features based on demand. Perhaps that means “cloud syncing” of your ProGet configuration, or maybe it means simplifying invoice payment. I’m open to ideas!
docs.inedo.com – we moved from our proprietary documentation system to a proper, third-party knowledge base; this not only means one less tool for our engineering team to manage, but it makes creating/editing documentation a lot easier (no more obscure Git knowledge required). Ultimately this means it’ll be a lot easier for us to educate and provide important product information.
Wrapping up: Here’s to 2021½ and Beyond!
I’ve once again far exceeded the recommended word count for a blog post, so I’ll end with this.
Although we’ve gone through a lot of changes over the past eighteen months, I’m excited about our future direction as a company and look forward to working with a great team, and great user community for many years to come.